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Meet the Students

Spring 2016 Visit USA Program

Nodoka Onodera, Kesennuma High School
yamauchi
This program not only improved my English skills but gave me insight to the American culture and life styles, which I had not known until then. The Horace Mann School and its students are so different. The classes are small, and students speak a lot. I was impressed by how the students take a lead in discussion. Now I’m trying to speak out back in my classes. I used to be quiet, only listening to teachers, so first I felt shy and embarrassed. Now I know I learn more if I ask questions.

In addition, I was reminded how you must be considerate of others. My host family, students at Horace Mann and Yale University, Ashita-Tomorrow staff, and all those people who helped this program possible, were kind. I owe them a lot. I felt their kindness in talking with them. They tried to talk in simpler English or slowly to make me understand them, and to understand what I tried to say, though incoherent and with many mistakes. I appreciate their consideration and I will make good use of this experience. I also try to be kind to others.

I was extremely nervous at giving speech at Horace Mann School, I became more relaxed for the second time at Yale University. Many people came to talk to me after my speech. I am glad they now know a little bit about the disaster hit areas. I am convinced it is important to tell my thoughts (I hadn’t given until then) as one of the people responsible for recovery of the area. And for my future.

My dear host family are very kind. They took me to many places: the Statue of Liberty, supermarkets in the neighborhood, their Connecticut house, a candy-bar, etc. I observed and learned a lot. Especially Ground Zero, commemorating September 11 attack victims gave a big impression on me with fear on human-led disaster and terrorism. You may not be able to prevent natural disaster. I was saddened by the fact so many lives were lost by the disaster which might have been stopped. The host family made a point of talking with me on many topics. I told them about the 3.11 disaster and my hometown. My host father took me to many places after he finished working, my host mother cooked delicious meals and even did laundry while I was away to Yale, Grace talked to me in our room and took me to many kinds of classes. I will keep in touch with them through SNS and emails. If I have a chance to host foreign students in my family, I would make sure to offer such warm hospitality as I received. I also want to accept different people and respect them.

Mayu Kanno, Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School
taniuchi
I like the Horace Mann School that offers variety of classes and allows students to take classes of their choice. Those classes such as video-making, pottery, art history, orchestra, which we don’t have in Japan, were very interesting. All the classes are very lively: students constantly raise their hands and have heated discussion. The students develop more interests and understanding on issues. In Ms. Fujisaki’s Japanese language classes, the students gave us questions. They would not mind speaking in faltering Japanese. Their attitude and determination to speak Japanese is very impressive. In Japan, we are afraid of making mistakes, thus reluctant to speak in English. I made a decision to speak and ask questions in classes in Japan.

This Program gave me significant experiences, happy or difficult. I recognized good points of Japan, being away from it. I also realized the importance and difficulty to “challenge” and “initiate.” You have to ask on your side, “how to use shower?” “Where are we going?” Otherwise, you don’t know today’s schedule. You cannot remain passive as we are in Japan. I tried to ask questions. However, their English was fast and a full of unknown words. I would have enjoyed much more, talking with them if I had a good command of spoken English. I am determined more than ever to study English harder.

Ryo Mikami, Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School
hakozakihina
I sincerely wished I were one of the Horace Mann students! I got at a loss many times, but it was so exciting to follow Horace Mann students from one class to another. I was reminded you would go to study on your own will. The students were very lively and seem to be proud of their school I am also proud of studying at Ikuei Gakuen with more than 100-year history. I would like to have friendly competition with Horace Mann students and go forward to find my own future.

At Horace Mann and Yale University, many people came to listen to our speeches. I was full of power! It would be nice if they think about 3.11 and other disasters. I talked with Kai who let me stay in his Yale dorm about differences in many cultures.

My host family were very kind. I felt at home since they tried to talk to me often. They want to go to Japan sometime in the future. I will study about the history of Sendai, my home town and Kyoto to be a guide to them. They took me to many places, such as Metropolitan Museum, the Yankee’s Stadium, Grand Zero, thus I came to understand why New York City is the center of the world. I look forward to meeting my host family and Horace Mann students again soon.

Fuka Ito, Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School
yanagiba
Horace Mann students are very active in every class. They raise their hands, give their opinions and ask questions. I would like to be like them when I go back home. The students are very friendly. You met them once in classes, then they greet you or talk to you when you meet in the hallway. Before I gave a speech about my experience of 3.11 disaster, I was very nervous and they came to talk to me to relax me. I was glad they also told me they liked my talk.

On Sunday, next day after our arrival, I met the Horace Mann students who had come to Sendai for Ashita-Tomorrow Express Yourself! workshop last March. We all spent afternoon together, rowing boats in Central Park, and walking to Times Square.

At Yale, I was happy to meet face-to-face Vernon, my Skype Session partner since last October. The campus is beautiful, mixed with nature and sophisticated buildings. I was also happy to find the people listened to my speech and understood what I wanted to convey. They came to me with questions. Some students, taking Japanese language classes, talked to me in Japanese. They tried so hard. So, I was motivated to talk in English although my English is not fluent yet.

My host mother took me to Brookline Bridge, Stock Exchange, and the park where you can see the Statue of Liberty. She gave me a lot of advices about college education and choice of future career. New York is a beautiful town. I learned about its culture when she took me to museums and Freedom Tower.

Now I regret I did not talk much with my host sister. I could not follow what the family discussed in the mornings. I lost confidence in my English to talk to her in school bus.

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